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An Island With Strings Attached

Bali's Airport Issues a Warning to Aviators.


Bali News:
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(7/22/2002)

With local police authorities unable or unwilling to enforce a local regulation that prohibits kite flying in the proximity of Bali's Airport, Administrators at Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport have issued a formal Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) warning of the potential threat posed by kites aloft in the approach and departure pattern of the Bali airport.

The NOTAM, issued worldwide, advises pilots to exercise caution during Bali's kite flying season from May to October.

As reported in Bali Update #298, literally hundreds of kites - some the size of a large truck - are launched by local village associations during the season of strong off shore winds. Flown on the end of ropes, often stretching many thousands of feet above the ground, these kites can cause traffic accidents and major power outages when they return uncontrolled to the earth. Moreover, encounters between the kites and local aircraft do occur with at least two reported "entanglements" taking place in recent months between the kites and a large commercial aircraft and a local sightseeing helicopter. Fortunately, no injuries were reported in connection with either of these incidents.

Local regulations carrying fines and prison sentences for those flying kites in Bali's air traffic control areas are in place, if not in force. A law passed in 2000 absolutely prohibits kite flying within 9 kilometers of the airport; flying kites at more than 100 meters above ground level between 9 and 18 kilometers from the airport; and over 300 meters in a radius between 18 and 54 kilometers from the airport. Nonetheless, in what seems to be blatant contempt for these rules, hundreds of kites dot the skies of Bali, including areas immediately adjacent to the airport's runway.

Local press reports have noted the reluctance of Bali's Police authorities to take an active role in enforcing the kite flying rules, gambling with the potentially tragic consequences of a mid-air aircraft encounter with one of Bali's massive kites.



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